Pradžia / Garsas / Sound

LOITS: The horrors of war and injustice mustn't be forgotten

LOITS ("Spell, chant, incantation") without a doubt is one of the best Estonian and Baltic metal bands which just turned 20 years old. LOITS, having started out with rather straightforward pagan black metal back in 1996 and still staying true to their roots, have managed to carve out a totally fresh and quite original heavy music genre of distinctly melancholic atmosphere. So far, the activities of Loits have met with success. Their second album, “Vere kutse kohustab”, managed in a couple of months to become a thus-far-undethroned bestseller for their record label of the time, Ledo Takas Records. “Ei kahetse midagi”, their debut, has been released by ten different companies in many countries all over the world (Estonia, Ukraine, Latvia, Mexico, Germany, France); most of the pressings have by now been sold out. Loits latest album "Must Album" has received warm welcome from international metal press and therefore has won over even more Loits fans than previous two releases combined (7,5/10 Terrorizer, 13/15 Legacy, 3,5/5 Inferno Magazine, 4/6 Imhotep, 9,3/10 Metal Storm, 5/5 FHM Eesti, 4,25/5 The Metal Crypt, 9/10 SUE etc). "Estonia must have a loit more to offer if this metal outfit are anything to go by. They are our favourite exporter of rock from the Eastern Bloc , especially as they dig days of yore and military re-enactments. Hiilgav!" Text in Fear Candy 46 booklet (Terrorizer). Loits are justifiably considered a strong live act. It is indeed at the concerts that their veritable energy is released in its purest form. Interview with band's vocalist Ahto-Lembit Lehtmets (2017 04 20) - for Your attention.

Mindaugas Peleckis
2017 m. Balandžio 20 d., 18:55
Skaityta: 198 k.
LOITS. Band's archive's photo.
LOITS. Band's archive's photo.

Last June LOITS had its 20th anniversary. What was prepared for the fest and what is the band and its member doing right now?

Thank you for asking, the Loits 20 event went better than expected and we had a full house at Tapper. Our friends haven't forgotten us and that gave us the initiative to accept two more important offers, thus you'll be seeing us at both Kilkim Žaibu and Hard Rock Laager.

Otherwise Loits has been in a state of lifelessness, but not yet buried. A sharper eye may catch shadows moving about in the dark.

There's a big chance you won't get a chance to see Loits again in the way we'll be at Kilkim Žaibu and Hard Rock Laager.

LOITS is a kind of spell in Estonian. Could You please explain it deeper and tell what does the name of the band mean to You?

Dulce et Utile, a.k.a the band's name "Loits" hints that we didn't plan to make art for the sake of art right from the beginning.

Deeper meaning and purposeful activity.

What is Estonian metal, alternative, experimental, punk music scene now? I remember visiting Tallinn in 1998, there were wonderful bands as Manatark, Tharaphita, Metsatöll, Carnifex.

Punk, alternative and other experimental stuff is too broad of an subject to talk about - I'll stick to extreme metal.

When you visited Tallinn in 1998, like elsewhere, the pagan/black-metal scene had boomed in the mid 90-s.

The next metal golden age began in 2004 and ended in somewhere 2009. Things are looking better again, though. There's a handful of activists who keep the clubs working and the venues are more crowded each day. A good sign of an healthy scene are strong connections with the rest of the world, and from that viewpoint, Estonian metal is doing better than ever. The black metal festival "Howls of Winter" alone, which had more than half of it's visitors from abroad, does more to local black metal than all previous effort put together. Interest for the happenings of this tiny, distant and cold nation has increased noticeably. Books are being written and documentaries are being made. If you're interested, then you should definently look out for the bands Sõjaruun, Thou Shell Of Death, Süngehel, ÜrgSiug, Sorts, Deceitome and good old Tharaphita.

Visit Hard Rock Laager during the summer and buy Estonian metal from the Nailboard Records online shop.

Almost everybody says: Estonia has better music scene because Finland is near. I personally think it’s a stereotype. What could You say about this stereotype?

Who is this everybody? Lithuanians? Though, during the Soviet era we had better access to metal due to Finnish TV and radio, which was available to see and hear here. Records were maybe more commonly traded than in other countries of the Soviet Union. Estonian metal scene did develop a more stronger connection with Finland during the early 90s and we even got to communicate on the UG level, but I'll remind that back then Finnish metal wasn't huge yet.

For bands like Tharaphita, Manatark and Loits, the first important contact country was Lithuania. Connections with Dangus Productions and Ledo Takas.

Many might remember the "Baltic Thunder" series of concerts and then "Kilkim Žaibu". That was a big thing. We were even a little jealous at Lithuanian and Latvian metal bands, because it seemed that they got foreign record deals than Estonian bands. For example, Zpoan Vtenz, Ha Lela and Neglected Fields published a record under Neat Records. Skyforger messed around with Mascot, Poccolus with Hammerheart, Nahash with Drakkar and Ghostorm with Black Mark. And even if those relations did not last long and the success they hoped for never came, then Estonian bands had nothing equivalient to compete with them.

The metal relations between Estonia and Finland got more serious only around the golden age of 2004-2009 - Finnish metal bloomed and the connections between the Estonian and Finnish metal scenes got serious. Even Loits started going to Finland occasionally, but near personally Metsatöll cut the most profile from these new relations.

As you can see, Loits and other local black metal bands publish records all across the world. Fairly rarely in Finland, though.

One of Your albums was released in Lithuania, also You’ve been here probably many times (can’t count it) and are a very popular band among Lithuanian metalheads. What do You think about Lithuanian metal scene and our country?

I know barely anything about Loits's popularity in Lithuania today. Our Facebook page statistics don't show many fans from Lithuania. But Facebook is not life. Those Lithuanians that we do know, are real friends and very dedicated people. I guess we'll see how things really are at "Kilkim Žaibu".

Like I mentioned earlier, we've had strong co-operation with Kilkim Žaibu, Ledo Takas and Dangus. It's glad to see that all our old friends are still doing well. Inferna Profundus Records and Forgotten Path Magazine definently honour Lithuania, so do active bands today, Nahash and Luctus. As from the older stuff, Anubi, Katedra, Zpoan Vtenz, Ha Lela, Poccolus, Meressin and Girnų Giesmės continue to excite. Obtest and Dissimulation are also worth mentioning.

Lithuania is culturally a bit foreign for Estonians, though. I suspect that it would be fairly hard to get used to living there as an Estonian.

We're very different by heritage, but we're bound by a similar recent history. On that our worldviews match, and it's much easier to find a common tongue. As a member of Loits, I am very thankful to our Lithuanian friends' contribution to the development of the band, especially Tadas and Ledo Takas Records. From the "Vere kutse kohustab" record and the "Goat Guts Over Europe" tour, things started really going uphill for Loits.

It’s impossible to imagine Estonian metal, and especially black metal, scene without LOITS. Anyway, the band didn’t release any longplay albums from 2007’s Must Album, if I am right, only this year You’ve released Tulisilma Sünd, recordings from 2000. When the fans can wait for the new, 4th album of LOITS? You are Estonian pagan and patriotic metal band. What are the main things You are proud of and what inspires You mostly?

During different stages, Loits has been inspired by various periods of Estonian history.

The "Ei kahetse midagi" pre-record time was a time of finding yourself through nature, which continues on a personal level in myself to this day.

Photos by Jelena Jakovljevic.

The aforementioned debute was heavily dedicated to the theme of "Ultima Thule". Aka, the effects of the meteor that struck Saaremaa 3500 years ago on the worldview of the people that lived here back then and Estonia making it to the map through said event. The mark was heavy and thus left an impact on the mythology of all the peoples surrounding us. About 2300 years ago Thule was visited by the Ancient Greece explorer Pytheas, thanks to whom we have the first notes about the life our ancestors lived and thanks to whom the border of the known inhabited world moved past the Aests. We were mostly inspired from the then President Lennart Meri's book of the same subject "Hõbevalge". I'm still into this subject today and the necessary literature can be found of the old times and new researches are being constantly published.

Things with "Vere kutse kohustab" records are easy. The fight for freedom in German uniform. The memory of these widely misunderstood men must be kept alive. The ultimate self-sacrifice and heroic achievements. The rockstars of the last century.

"Must album" talks about how the chaos of war affected the average citizen. The horrors of war and injustice mustn't be forgotten. Therefore I would like to go further with the new album from there but I wouldnt like to give away more secrets nor give any promises.

Tänan teid väga.